The secrets of highly successful associations: leveraging technology to improve performance
Historically, associations have tended to measure their performance in an ad-hoc manner. But as technology becomes simpler, more affordable and more accessible, associations are realising the vital role technology plays in lowering operating costs, increasing revenue and improving operational efficiency.
By closely tying performance to their IT operations, associations can uncover critical information while determining how to better their performance and deepen their connection with members.
Performance management: identify what to measure
The first step to improving your association’s performance through the use of technology is to identify what it is you want to improve, and as such, what you should measure. Some associations will want to look at member retention, others may like to review cumbersome administrative efforts or wasted resources, and others may be focused on their financial situation.
Whatever your desired improvement, set clear goals and identify what specific items will impact your desired outcomes.
Performance management systems can help associations to stay focused on those goals and make improvements that will enhance operational processes and business efficiencies.
Online self-service is an excellent tool to empower member engagement. This will not only see your members more engaged, it will reduce the administrative burden on internal resources and improve the accuracy of valuable information.
Self service functionalities on your website will empower members to take action on their own; enabling them to pay for events and update personal profiles online. Allowing members to manage these operations on their own with around-the-clock access will make them feel more connected to your organisation.
Social networking tools are another successful way of increasing member engagement. By including online polls, forums and peer-to-peer networking on your website you encourage more active involvement.
Automating business processes
Automate your business processes to streamline operations and improve efficiency. Tasks such as member contact information can be automated with technology, allowing staff to quickly and easily manage data. Automation also ensures that business processes are consistent and repeatable, meaning you can measure more accurately.
Look at your data
Business intelligence tools can be used to analyse data and get a clear view of your constituent base. Organisations can use information on member preferences to strengthen their relationships with and manage their constituent communities.
The technology also provides visibility into association initiatives, accurately comparing member habits, campaign success and other metrics that will help plan future activities.
Ask for direct feedback from your community as to the effectiveness of your association’s technology, apply their suggestions and let them know they are being heard.
Associations are continuously evolving and improving. Performance management can show what processes work best, which can eliminate inefficiencies and streamline operations. Performance management can make your organisation more productive and help you achieve your business goals.
By Paul Ramsbottom, Managing Director, Advanced Solutions International (ASI) Asia Pacific